Mar 06-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: March: Mar 06-08
Giant book    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller
Archway to reading    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller
Reading tree    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller
Reading tree    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller
Reading tree    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:07 am:

Bill Haller thought maybe we needed something colorful and fun to check out while we're waiting for Spring to arrive, so he snapped a few photos of the recent items added at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. They're sprucing up their children's section, making it more appealing to the young and the old kids too. Bill reports that David Larson, a local artisan crafted and installed the new additions. The open book archway is quite impressive in itself and the learning tree was hand carved with the individual arms of each branch fitting into the trunk. In the last photo you can see that the learning tree is dedicated to the children of the Keweenaw, in memory of "Winks" Gundach. Sure looks like a nice place to relax with your favorite book, but don't forget to take your favorite kid along, too.

By Tim Holland (Tholland) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:59 am:

I have complete confidence that this is one library that doesn't close even if it snowed 15 inches overnight.

By Joanne Sherrick (Shedoesnails) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 06:23 am:

Makes me think of my favorite quote. "Those who don't read are no bette off than those who can't"

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 07:05 am:

Why was the learning tree hand carved with the individual arms of each branch fitting into the trunk? Wouldn't someone loan David Larson a truck?

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 07:14 am:

That is one nice library!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 07:19 am:

I love all of it. Makes an English teacher proud.

By RD, Iowa (Rdiowa) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 07:41 am:

Isn't this library built on the spot where Herman Gundlach's office used to be? I seem to recall the Bridge Cam one day a few years ago showing the fire.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 07:59 am:

What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Gundlach by his daughters.

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 08:02 am:

oops, I think Larson, should be Larsen.

By Charlotte, Mishawaka, IN (Charlotte61) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 08:31 am:

Good morning from Mishawaka, IN. When I retire May 30 from the Mishawaka High School Library this is the library I want to visit. I love seeing how different area treat their libraries.

By Loret Roberts (Lroberts) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:09 am:

My daughter Gabrielle loves going to the library and loves the new addition of the tree. The Children's area has been a work in progress and we love to see it each time we visit. What a great resource we have here. The library itself is a great work of art.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:11 am:

There is so much natural beauty to be displayed here, but I appreciate the pictures of the 'inner' beauty of the Copper Country. That book arch is just lovely, and certainly does make you want to go through and read.

By Lois Haglund (Thefinnishline) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:20 am:

This is really marvelous! Should contact CNN to feature it on national news ... esp. if there were a further note of interest ... if someone would respond to the comment above asking if this library is built on the site of Herman Gundlach's office.
Comment from Crystal Falls.

By Clara Huhak (Mugga) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:28 am:

Spectacular pictures!

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:28 am:

The book: Gone are the days of a beautifully bound book with sewn signatures and which pages remain flat on either side of the spine when the book is opened. Unfortunately PLDL's book arch is upside down, a position in which most librarians will say is a "no-no" for the preservation of the book spine. Nevertheless, the arch is a beautiful rendition and brings to mind the beautiful poem which was posted a week or so ago about trees and their gifts to us.

By Helen (Heleninhubbel) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:36 am:

How cool the additions is a beautiful library. To bad it isn't open to everyone to use like libraries usually are.

If you want one of their books you have to request it from your local library.

Calumet has a wonderful library that shows off their students art....and they are really great about getting you a book they don't have.

God Bless.....

Libraries are like bookstores......but better because they are usually free of cost and full of interesting things.....knowledge.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:44 am:

What a marvelous scene for young adventurers to travel. Such a contrast to the library I called home as a youngster. Some of my most impressive hours when I lived all over my imagined world, were in the rather dim, quiet aisles of the local library.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 09:42 am:

It was April 24, 2004 that the Gundlach building on the Houghton Waterfront was destroyed by fire. Dennis Kemper has an excellent collection of photos of this tragic event in the Pasty Central Guest Gallery.

The Pasty Cam had a tribute to Herman Gundlach in June of '06 when the new Portage Lake District Library had its open house.


Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 10:04 am:


Believe it or not, it's the bookbinding adhesive's formula that actually determines if the gapping condition, termed "smile", is permanent, or not.

Bookbinding adhesives have their own lexicon of terms, such as smile, mouse trap, page pull, etc.

By Erica - Florida Keys (Erica) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 10:38 am:

A library is a great place to read and dream and plan. It holds the past and offers the future.

By Little M (Littlem) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 10:59 am:

this is a very lovely library.

i used to work at the portage lake district library back when it was in the old carnegie building. i was there from my senior year in high school to a year after i graduated from tech and moved. a couple months after that, they moved into their new building.

whenever i go home i like visit there. it's a very nice library!

By Musicteacher (Musicteacher) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 11:47 am:

I want to support Helen In Hubbel's comments. A
library is only as good as its services. The fancy
woodwork is nice, but the dollars could be spent more
wisely. The library in Calumet is not dedicated to any
one person, but available for all to use. The few times
that I was at the PLDL the library was actually closed!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 11:56 am:

That is a gorgeous library, with wonderful wood carvings, especially the open book archway and the tree! Thank you for today's photos, Bill Haller and Mary!

I did not realize that is where the library is. We happened to be in Houghton that weekend, to dismantle my son's loft in his dorm room at Mich Tech, to take it home. We had gone up into the Keweenaw that day, doing my favorite trek up to Copper Harbor, with the lake side trip, visiting the waterfalls, having lunch in Copper Harbor, etc. On the way back to Houghton, we stopped at the scenic overlook, and saw the fire, and we were wondering what was up! I think I probably have a couple of pictures of the fire, too. We had no clue what the building was, etc. And, I did not know that is where the new library was built. What a small world!

Is it true, that that beautiful library is not open to the public, or did I misunderstand what Helen was saying? That would be a real shame not to have it open. That would be a wonderful place to sit and read and knit, especially on a rainy or cold day, or on a beautiful day, just looking out the windows!

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:39 pm:

I'm very confused by Helen's comments... I'm a "member" of the PLDL (by walking in and asking for a card), and it works just like any other library. Are you referring to the fact that you need to live in or around Portage lake to get a card? (That's been true of every library I've been a member of.)

By RD, Iowa (Rdiowa) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:51 pm:

I know it is open to the public, as we spent some time there during the last visit. Didn't check out any books, because being from out of town. But I would imagine local residents are welcome to get a card and actively use the resources.

Perhaps the head librarian there (Jim Curtis?) could clarify the policy. I used to enjoy his 'Conan the Librarian' columns in the Gazette years ago.

By theresa (Up4evr) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:57 pm:

What a beautiful library. I was there last summer. I volunteer it our huge library here. I love it . Nice gals work there and it is very interesting work. I work in the Tech Dept. so I do a variety of jobs.

By Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 12:59 pm:

OK, let's clarify the library issue. I just got off the phone with them and here's the scoop:

Anyone can sign up for a PLDL library card. How you get your card depends on where you live. People who live in or own property in the City of Houghton or Chassell or Portage Townships may sign up for a library card at no additional cost. People who live outside of the library district may obtain a card by paying a non-resident fee.

The fee schedule is as follows:
3 months - $30 individual; $45 family
6 months - $50 individual; $80 family
1 year - $75 individual; $115 family

If you live in Houghton, Chassell or Portage Township, you already pay for using the library by paying your taxes.
To get around having to pay the non-resident fee, you can order books through your local library. You also can go to the PLDL and use their facilities without ANY charge, but cannot check books out unless you have a library card.

Also, the operating hours are listed on their website here: Portage Lake District Library hours and are as follows:
Monday 10AM - 9PM
Tuesday 10AM - 5PM
Wednesday 10AM - 5PM
Thursday 10AM - 9PM
Friday 10AM - 9PM
Saturday 10 AM- 3PM
Sunday Closed

To find out more about the Portage Lake District Library, just click HERE.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 01:08 pm:

Thanks for the clarification, Mary. This is how I think most public libraries work.

Incidentally, since there is talk of the Calumet library, is that somehow different? Could I, as a Houghton resident, get a card there for free?

Mary says: Good question...I checked the Calumet Public Library website and found the following information under their Mission Statement:

"It is the mission of the Calumet Public-School Library to make educational, informational and recreational materials accessible to the citizens of the public library service area and the students of the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium and Keweenaw."

It didn't state what the "service area" is, but I would guess it's the surrounding Calumet area, similar to the PLDL service area policy.

By Richard Wieber (Dickingrayling) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 01:49 pm:

The library is built on the site of the Gundlach's building. Of course, this makes me feel older because, in my mind, the Gundlach building was the old Roach and Seeber building all the time I was growing up in Houghton. Everybody's "old days" are different.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 02:13 pm:

Okay, since this PLDL discussion is ongoing, I will say that the above discussion would easily lead one to believe that it operates as a private library, where any use thereof requires a membership.

Every other public library I have ever known allows the general public to use the library and library materials on-site without a library card, while requiring a library card to check out any library materials or to use certain functions on their web site. Mary's note above confirms that this is indeed the case with PLDL, as indicated in the following quote from the single lonesome June 2006 edition(?) of the Portage Lake District Library Newsletter [emphasis is mine]:


"Everyone can enjoy the library our public computers, the relaxing reading space and our other amenities. Residents of our district, and our annual dues-paying members from outside the district, will continue to receive the same prompt, friendly service when checking out materials."

And although I'm entitled to a 'freebie' PLDL library card, I'm a bit disappointed that they apparently haven't figured out how to post the non-resident fee-schedule on their web site, instead I find only this:


"How to Get a PLDL Library Card

Anyone can sign up for a PLDL library card. How you get your card depends on where you live. People who live in or own property in the City of Houghton or Chassell or Portage Townships may sign up for a library card at no additional cost. People who live outside of the library district may obtain a card by paying a non-resident fee.

Please stop in at the library or give a call at 482-4570 for more information."

One wonders why they feel a need to be so secretive about their non-resident rates?

Note that PLDL also fails to provide any means of contact other than telephone or FAX, such as email, webmail or the like.

I would have expected PLDL to appreciate the benefits of such asynchronous communication, rather than actually inviting 'telephone tag'! One would hope that they have plenty to do without spending their day providing information by phone that might more easily be found on their web site, if they'd just provide it there!

Maybe a brief consultation on the efficient use of the Internet with the PastyCam Internet wizards would be in order for PLDL?
69 TOOT (Flyindamooney) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 02:42 pm:

We have similar, but not as beautiful "arches" in our Detroit area libraries, but they usually incorporate hidden metal detectors inside........
They may be to protect the books from theft, but they may also be for keeping the "metal" outside. A far cry from da UP. Miss ya

By Jim Curtis (Jcurtis) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 02:57 pm:

Hello Everybody,

I was excited to hear that some of our additions to the "new" Portage Lake District Library were being posted on Thanks Bill for the photos!

It also looks like this might be a good time to clarify things a bit more.

The Portage Lake District Library is a public library that is open to everyone. All are welcome to come to the library, use on-site services, attend programs and enjoy the wonderful new building on Houghton's waterfront.

Anyone can get a library card, too. How you get a card depends on where you live. Residents and/or property owners in the City of Houghton, Portage Township and Chassel Township already directly or indirectly pay property taxes to support the library. People from other areas don't pay PLDL property taxes. They have the option to pay for a non-resident card. Or not.

Why have the non-resident fee system? Frankly, we have to pay the bills somehow. PLDL is the only stand-alone, purely public library in the Keweenaw. The libraries in other communities in the Keweenaw are smaller combined school/public libraries with fewer staff, fewer hours, and fewer materials. Some communities have no public library service at all. The level of library service provided is the choice of each community.

In Houghton, Chassell, and Portage the people have chosen to financially support a higher level of library service. They pay for their library services with property taxes. Others are invited to pay non-resident fees.

The Portage Lake District Library is always open to talking to anyone from any local area who wants information about achieving a higher level of public library service by having their community join the PLDL library district.

As for the new building it was built by and is being paid for by the City of Houghton. All of the new items inside the building were purchased with donated private funds. Public funds continue to go toward buying books and general library operations.

So, everybody is welcome at the Portage Lake District Library. I invite you to stop in and see for yourself what we have to offer.

If you would like more information, please email me at or call me at 906-482-4570.


Jim Curtis
Portage Lake District Library

By Mark Pasich (Lumberman) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 03:02 pm:

This is the problem I have. The PLDL will let me get a book using interlibrary loan. But if I show up in person to check out a book, I cannot. Why? Who pays for the cost of toting the books around from one library to another?

I lived 45 miles from Traverse City. I was allowed to have a card and check out all the material I wanted , even though I was 2 counties away. That would be like letting someone from Sidnaw or Copper Harbor use the library without cost.

Do we really have so many people up here that if you were to allow "NON-DISTRICT" people to use the library, that they would run out of books or something.

Remember, the PLDL already allows me as a Calumet resident to take out all the books I want through Interlibrary loan. I could see the arguement if they did not allow anyone but "locals" to check out things.

If I choose to use my own gas to get to Houghton, then they should let us all use it.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 03:11 pm:

I'm pretty surprised at the reaction to the PLDL's policies. This is exactly how every public library I've ever used has worked -- it is "public" exactly because it is paid for by the citizens of its town or township.

Interlibrary loan is another issue entirely. It is an agreement among libraries to allow each other access to their respective collections. You pay for that service by paying taxes in SOME location which has a public library -- generally the town where you live -- and those taxes let your library loan books from other libraries.

If you live in an area with no public library, then you would have to pay some other library to use its services. Then by paying that library, you indirectly pay other libraries for access to their collections.

Libraries, while a wonderful thing, are not free and are certainly not a fundamental right. We must pay for them somehow, and most libraries (including the PLDL) choose this model.

By Dave Van Dyk (Daveincolumbus) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 06:25 pm:

Can anyone tell me what happened to the old Portage Lake District Library, which was located on a side street in Houghton east of the high school? Could have been Dodge, Huron or Isle Royale St.? (This was in the mid-60's.) It was tiny, but a beautiful old Carnegie building made of, I believe, local sandstone. I have fond memories of researching book reports in that library.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 06:41 pm:

Dave, I don't know if this is what you mean or not, but until about 2 years ago the PLDL was in a Carnegie building on the corner of Montezuma and Huron streets downtown. That old library was packed to the gills! It was indeed a lovely building though, nowadays it's the Carnegie Museum.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP (Kenjamimi) on Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 10:44 pm:

When I was in the 5th grade at the Houghton High in 1948, we lived on Montezuma Ave. On the way home I would stop at the library a lot. I loved it! I have had a library card everywhere I lived. Still have one at the Esky city library and at Bay College. Gretchen Gundlach was one of my classmates. This PLDL is really a wonder! Beautimous!

By wally marciniak (Wallym) on Saturday, December 20, 2008 - 11:44 pm:

Has anyone heard that the director of this library may be fired?

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